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Separate PKK attacks leave 4 Turkish soldiers dead

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
People carry the coffin of a Turkish policeman during a funeral ceremony at the Kocatepe Mosque in the capital, Ankara, on April 8, 2016. ©AFP

At least four Turkish soldiers have lost their lives and several others sustained injuries when members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) launched two separate attacks against government forces in the embattled southeastern provinces of Mardin and Gaziantep.

Security sources, requesting anonymity, said Kurdish PKK militants lobbed a barrage at army troopers as the latter were conducting a military operation in the city of Nusaybin, situated 792 kilometers (492 miles) east of the capital, Ankara, on Sunday. Three Turkish soldiers were killed in the attack and 14 others wounded. 

Separately, two police officers was killed and 22 others, mostly police officers, were wounded when PKK forces detonated a car rigged with explosives in the southeastern city of Gaziantep, situated 685 kilometers (425 miles) southeast of the capital, Ankara.

Provincial governor, Ali Yerlikaya, said those injured in the blast at the entrance of the police station included at least 19 policemen.

The development came only a day after a Turkish army captain was shot dead by a PKK sniper during a counter-terrorism operation in Nusaybin.

A ceasefire between the PKK and the Turkish government collapsed in July 2015 and attacks on Turkish security forces have soared ever since.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said earlier this month that 355 members of the Turkish security forces and over 5,000 Kurdish militants have been killed in operations against the outlawed group.

People stand in the ruins of a house as curfew ends during daylight in the town of Silopi, southeastern Turkey, on January 19, 2016. ©AFP

Ankara has been engaged in a large-scale campaign against the PKK in its southern border region in the past few months. The Turkish military has also been conducting offensives against the positions of the group in northern Iraq and Syria.

The operations began in the wake of a deadly July 2015 bombing in the southern Turkish town of Suruc. More than 30 people died in the attack, which the Turkish government blamed on the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.

After the bombing, the PKK militants, who accuse the government in Ankara of supporting Daesh, engaged in a series of supposed reprisal attacks against Turkish police and security forces, in turn prompting the Turkish military operations.

A Turkish man smokes a cigarette as he sits outside a damaged house in the town of Kilis, located approximately 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) north of the border with Syria, on April 25, 2016, a day after rockets hit the area, leaving one dead. ©AFP

Shelling from Syria injures two in Turkey

In another development on Sunday, two people sustained injuries when projectiles coming from territories controlled by the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group in neighboring Syria slammed into the border town of Kilis, which is located approximately 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) north of the border with Syria

Turkey has been accused of supporting militant groups fighting to topple the Syrian government since March 2011. It also stands accused of being involved in illegal oil trade with Takfiri Daesh terrorists.

In late May 2015, Turkish-language Cumhuriyet newspaper posted on its website footage showing trucks belonging to Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT) allegedly carrying weapons for Takfiri groups in neighboring Syria. 

Ankara denied the allegations in return, saying the trucks had been carrying humanitarian aid to Syria.

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